The City of Toronto’s commitment to meaningful public engagement in planning processes is apparent throughout its many policies, plans and initiatives. However, despite consistent messaging that effective engagement leads to better outcomes and the many hours it spends on engagement efforts, the City Planning division has acknowledged that its approaches to community outreach are not always effective. City Planning’s 2014 “Growing Conversations” initiative revealed, among other findings, disparities in levels of planning knowledge between experts and stakeholders that lead to frustration and communication breakdowns. An outcome of this was to focus on improving the planning literacy levels of Torontonians.
However, Growing Conversations did not elaborate on how it intends to improve planning literacy, nor what it understands planning literacy to mean. By exploring the meaning of “planning literacy” and creating a diagnostic tool to measure it, this research paper seeks to stimulate meaningful discussion around what planning concepts everyday Toronto residents should be familiar with, help identify those concepts for which that is not the case, and consider how to act on that information.
An article on urban planning in the City of Toronto, used the key words: planning literacy; public engagement; questionnaire; Toronto.